EUROPE: Champions League
Time: 20:00 PM
Venue: Stamford Bridge (London)
UEFA Champions League (UCL) holders Chelsea are seeking to avoid their first ever back-to-back UCL defeats under Thomas Tuchel against a Malmö side who the ‘Blues’ boast a 100% winning record against (W2). The German has solidified a previously fragile Chelsea rearguard and masterminded a run which has seen his side claim an accompanying clean sheet in six of their seven 90 minute victories this season.
The ‘Blues’ are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table, with the only blotch on their domestic record coming against current champions Manchester City. That singular defeat is replicated in the UCL, with a MD2 defeat against Juventus seeking to be avenged against Malmö here. With Tuchel’s side owning an unbeaten record against Swedish opposition in European competition (W3, D3), and considering the gulf in class between the sides, a big victory here wouldn’t be a surprise.
Malmö broke Sweden’s duck in the UCL as they became the first Swedish team to reach the group stage since 2015/16, but you have to go back even further in history, to 1995 in fact, for the last time ‘Di blåe’ claimed victory against English opposition (2-1 vs Nottingham Forest), with fruitless clashes vs Swansea City and Chelsea ensuing.
Malmö can only boast a mere five goals in their two prior UCL group stage campaigns, but on the domestic front, they are somewhat prolific of late. A 3-0 victory over Östersunds at the weekend was the perfect warm-up and also enhanced their impressive form in front of goal, making it 13 goals across their last four domestic games.
Players to watch: Edouard Mendy kept nine clean sheets in 12 games last UCL campaign and has one to his name in the UCL already this season. Meanwhile, Antonio Čolak has seven goal involvements in Malmö’s last three domestic victories (5G, 2A), but is yet to get off the mark in the UCL group stage.
- Chelsea’s form in last 5 matches: WWLLD.
- Malmo FF’s form in last 5 matches: WWLLW
PREDICTION: Home Win and Over 1.5